MarkKawakami.com

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Damn Popups

One of the great things about moving from Internet Explorer to newer browsers (Safari, in my case, Firefox also) is that pop-up blockers are built in. Finally, I could visit popup heavy sites (like LATimes.com) in peace. But dammnit, the popup advertisers, probably as a result of the growth of Firefox and Microsoft's latest updates to IE, have created new popup ads that circumvent the blocking. I haven't done too much investigating into how they're doing this, although the main technique seems to be executing javascript as the page loads rather than during the onload event.

At any rate, it's really irritating. We finally had popup ads under control, and it was sooooo nice not to have to deal with that crap. But they're coming back, more and more. This seems to be new, I've only started seeing it in the last couple of months, but I'm seeing it more often with each day, and pretty soon we'll be back to the days of not being able to surf without ads popping up.

What bothers me the most about them is I can't imagine for the life of me that popup advertising is more effective than other forms of internet advertising. When I get one I automatically close it without even reading it. Banner ads and Google's ads are far more likely to get my attention, and when they fit something I'm interested in, I do follow them. But popups are just a nuisance, like a fly that won't leave your apartment.

So hopefully the browser makers will make more effective popup blocking. I think the rule has to be that the only way to open a new window is through javascript that executes in response to an "onclick" event or clicking on a link that executes javascript. Anything that happens during an "onload" event or executed during the runtime execution of javascript while the page is loading, or responding to mousemove events should not be allowed to open new windows. This should solve all methods of popup advertising, while still preserving the power of javascript-opened windows in response to conscious actions on the part of the user.

My prediction is that Firefox and other Mozilla based browsers will be first out of the gate with improved popup blocking, Safari and Opera next, IE last (if at all). Hopefully we'll see updates soon.

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